If you integrate nothing but this, your life will be well lived

Like most of the components of Iggeret HaKodesh, this pastoral letter too was addressed to the chassidic community as a whole. Why, then, echoing the words first addressed to Daniel (“To enlighten you with understanding”),1 does the Alter Rebbe open it in the singular?

In this letter the Alter Rebbe demands spiritual service of a caliber so seemingly formidable as to be attainable only by a chosen few. For in it he calls upon the reader not to desire physical things, even those things that are essential for his wellbeing and utilized in his service of G‑d.

Even such essentials, states the Alter Rebbe, should not be desired for their physicality but for their spirituality, for the spark of G‑dliness found within them. So much so, that even if a person finds that he is lacking (G‑d forbid) life’s essentials, he should not be pained by their absence…

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